50 Years of Heartfelt Giving To The Good Friday Appeal

Pictured above: Good Friday Community Family Fun Day

In the heart of Traralgon, Victoria, the Royal Exchange Hotel (REH) Cork Club stands as a testament to the power of community spirit and philanthropy. For over 50 years, this club, which conducts some of their fundraising activities at the Royal Exchange Hotel in Traralgon, has played an important role in the success of the Good Friday Appeal, contributing over $2 million to date. Recently, we talked with Roy Arnold, the regional Area Manager for Traralgon and a key figure in the REH Cork Club’s inspiring journey.

Origins of Giving: A Community United
The roots of the REH Cork Club’s involvement in the Good Friday Appeal trace back to its founding in 1973. Originally, the club donated to the local Traralgon hospital, fostering a deep connection with the community, before they started raising funds for the Good Friday Appeal. Roy Arnold, who joined in 1993, notes, “Everybody associates the club with the Royal Exchange Hotel. The manager, Marty, has been there a long time when I was still working at the pub when she started.”

Pictured above: Roy Arnold, Area Manager for Traralgon

As the years passed, the club evolved its fundraising methods, expanding from traditional events like Dinner Dances to the now-beloved ‘Good Friday Community Family Fun Day.’ The community’s involvement has remained a constant, with local businesses, schools, and organizations rallying behind the cause.

The Fun Day Phenomenon
The ‘Good Friday Community Family Fun Day’ has become a highlight, engaging the Traralgon community in a day of festivities and giving. Roy explains, “Originally, the hotel ran little events to encourage community involvement in their own way before the Cork Club got involved, back then I worked at the hotel too. Roy mentions that the response

from the community has been overwhelming. He fondly recalls the past events,”The Fun starts at 10am on Good Friday and finishes at 3pm in the Church Street carpark at
the Royal Exchange Hotel in Traralgon. Activities include live music, displays by local Fire Brigades and Latrobe Valley Street Machiners Car Club, Kids activities like games, Lucky Dip, Raffles, REH Cork Club BBQ, coffee van, cakes and treats, photo booth, and more. Last year they raised around 4.5k just from activities on that day.” For the community, this event has become a tradition, bringing families together and creating lasting memories.

Innovative Fundraising: Adapting to the Times
The REH Cork Club’s fundraising methods have evolved over the years, embracing innovation while preserving tradition. From craft markets for kids to QR codes strategically placed around the hotel, the club ensures that everyone can contribute, even in our increasingly digital age. Roy emphasises, “We have QR codes on each of the tables at the bistro. They have a 3-corner menu with QR codes each.”

The club’s flexibility in fundraising has not only sustained but enhanced its impact, ensuring a wide range of opportunities for participation.

Coordination is Key when it comes to fundraising
With almost 200 regional Area Managers involved in fundraising, coordination is key. Roy sheds light on the early days when friendly rivalry with other pubs fuelled their fundraising efforts. “The hotels would get the ‘top tags,’ and the battle would encourage the pubs to fundraise.”

Today, the REH Cork Club fosters collaboration, not just within the club but also with local businesses, schools, and community groups. It’s a collective effort that goes beyond financial contributions, reinforcing a sense of shared responsibility for a greater cause.

Embracing Change for a Brighter Future
As Roy and Marty look ahead, there is a clear focus on adapting to the changing times. They envision the integration of more QR codes around the hotel and a push towards online donations, recognising the preferences of a younger demographic. The aim is to reach a wider audience and involve the community in new and exciting ways. The club and hotel have both experienced a remarkable collaborative journey, with 2.26 million dollars raised in the last 50 years for the appeal. As they continue to evolve, the club stands as a shining example of the positive impact that a community can have when they come together with a shared purpose.